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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Damascus’

Three Israeli Arabs Indicted for Planning Terror Attack at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Haifa (TPS) – Three Israeli-Arabs are charged with planning stabbing attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem, according to two separate indictments filed on Wednesday in the Haifa District Court.

The three defendants are Ali Subh, Ibrahim Shami, and Mehdi Basal from the village of Jadeidi-Makr in the Galilee. Subh and Shami are charged with attempted murder, conspiring to commit a murder, and arms dealing offenses. The second indictment charges Basal with arms dealing as well as illegally purchasing and possessing a weapon.

According to the first indictment, Subh and Shami made their way to Jerusalem with knives, inspired by the wave of terror attacks in Israel. They intended to commit a stabbing attack at the Damascus Gate of the Old City, where many previous attacks took place. They did not carry out the attack, choosing instead to seek out firearms in order to cause greater damage.

On another occasion, Shami drove to Jerusalem with a knife given to him by Subh, who encouraged him to stab Israelis. The attack was stopped in circumstances not detailed in the indictment.

The two also planned several shooting attacks, and Shami even tried to find out the cost of weapons needed to carry out an attack.

The case was investigated by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), and the indictments were filed by the Haifa district attorney along with requests to detain all three until the end of court proceedings against them.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

IDF Preparing for Conflicts Along Southern, Northern Borders

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Israel’s defense establishment appears to be preparing military forces and civilians for a possible outbreak of hostilities either in the north or the south sometime soon.

A major civil defense drill – the largest since the 2014 war with Hamas – was held this past Thursday in southern Israel at Kibbutz Erez, barely a mile from Gaza.

Civilian response teams, IDF soldiers, Magen David Adom emergency medical teams, police officers, firefighters and others participated in the drill, Channel 2 reported Friday.

The exercise simulated an attack by Hamas terrorists on an Israeli kibbutz which included abduction of Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers overpowering the terrorists in the kibbutz dining hall.

According to the report, recent IDF preparations to meet a possible conflict have included the infusion of additional forces along the Gaza border. In addition, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported Thursday that four IDF bulldozers leveled ground along the security fence a few meters inside Gaza, east of the city of Rafah, which straddles the enclave’s border with Egypt.

Nevertheless, defense officials continue to say that although Hamas is gathering its forces within Gaza, the terrorist group does not appear to be preparing for a direct war with Israel in the near future.

While the IDF is preparing to meet whatever threat may present itself in the south, forces are also making preparations in the north for much the same reason.

The IDF has beefed up its forces in northern Israel along the border with Lebanon and in the Golan Heights, near Syria. A major military drill began in the north on Wednesday and continued through the end of the week.

IDF Northern Command alerted civilians from the western Galilee all the way east to the Golan Heights not to be alarmed at the sounds of artillery and other ordnance.

The latest round of peace talks between opposition forces and the Syrian government started Wednesday (April 13) in Geneva but by the weekend had achieved nothing.

The Syrian regime has escalated the fighting near Aleppo, and local residents who had not yet fled are now making an effort to flee while they can. Opposition forces are accusing Syrian government chief mediator Bashar Ja’afari of not being serious about seeking a solution to the five-year civil war.

United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura is trying to keep the talks focused on political transition but with intensified battles continuing, the opposition is losing its resolve.

In addition, Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Army of Islam and Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) radical Islamist terror organizations are not at the table. Since they control at least half of the territory in Syria, even if negotiations succeed in resolving the issue of who governs Syria, the question still remains whether there is anything geographically, territorially left to govern.

Al Nusra controls the territory closest to the sole border crossing between Israel and Syria, at Quneitra. Last Tuesday (April 12) Syrian sources told international media that Da’esh (ISIS) now controls 90 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus. The community is home to Arabs from the Palestinian Authority and is also a stronghold for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.

So far, the capital, Damascus is still in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Begins Military Drills in Northern Israel

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Residents in northern Israel may hear explosions or see military vehicles passing by in the next few days.

The IDF Northern Command is conducting military drills in the Galilee and Golan Heights, beginning Wednesday and continuing through the rest of this week.

The sound of artillery and other ordnance is to be expected.

Last week the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization abducted 300 cement workers and contractors from the Al-Badia company in Dumeir, about 28 miles from Damascus, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A new round of peace talks between opposition forces and the Syrian government were scheduled to start Wednesday (April 13), but were not to include Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Army of Islam or any other radical Islamist group such as the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) group.

Da’esh and related terror groups are largely in control of Syrian territory close to the border with Israel.

Syrian sources said Tuesday that Da’esh now controls 90 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, home to Arabs from the Palestinian Authority.

The camp is also a major base for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, which has ties to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hana Levi Julian

Truce Signed in Syria by Assad Regime, Rebel Forces – Excludes ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

As the gunshots and sounds of mortarfire grow closer to Israeli communities in the Golan Heights, the Syrian regime has signed a truce with representatives of the rebel forces.

The truce, however, excludes Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda and the Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist organizations, according to a statement released Tuesday afternoon by the state-run SANA news agency, which raises the issue of how long it will actually last, and how relevant it really is.

“The Syrian Arab Republic accepts the cessation of fighting actions on the basis of continuing the military efforts for combating terrorism against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organizations according to the Russian-U.S. agreement,” said an official source at the Syrian Expatriates and Foreign Ministry.

The military picture in Syria is far from simple.

Both Russia and the U.S.-led coalition are still claiming to be bombing ISIS terror targets in Syria, but one can hardly separate those out from the general population, let alone from other combatants.

The Syrian regime forces include the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist guerrilla fighters and Russian military personnel on the ground and in the air.

The U.S.-led coalition forces in the air have been bombing targets on behalf of the more moderate Syrian opposition forces. But there have been overlaps and on more than one occasion the “moderate” rebels have united with radical Islamists when they deemed necessary to overcome an enemy target. In this way, weapons, ammunition and other foreign ordnance changes hands, and Da’esh (ISIS) and/or Al Qaeda-linked terrorists end up possessing American arms and military technology.

Moreover, Ankara — also a member of NATO along with the United States — has been bombing Kurdish sites in northern Syria, claiming the PYD and YPG groups are related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group. Turkey alleges the PKK perpetrated last week’s horrific suicide car bombing in the capital city, Ankara, together with a PYD-linked Syrian national.

Regardless of who is dropping the bombs, after five years of one of the most savage civil wars in the Middle East very little is left of the “Syrian Arab Republic” that the world — or President Bashar al-Assad himself — once knew. At present, even the outlying districts of Damascus have been bombed into rubble in many areas, as seen in the video below, filmed by RussiaWorks.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry source noted that the cease-fire is set to begin on Saturday Feb. 27. In order to ensure the success of the cease-fire, “the Syrian government affirms readiness to continue to coordinate with the Russian side for identifying the areas and the armed groups that are to be included in the cessation along the period it is in effect,” the source said.

“The Syrian government stresses the importance of border curbing, halting support provided by some countries to the armed groups, and preventing these organizations from boosting their capabilities or changing their positions so as to avoid anything that may undermine this agreement,” the source warned.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed that he and U.S. President Barack Obama had agreed on a joint statement announcing their plans to stop military operations in Syria. The U.S. State Department announced the agreement, which it said includes “plans to stop the military operations in Syria, [but] which exclude the Islamic State (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations.”

Hana Levi Julian

Report: Israeli Air Strike on Syrian Regime Forces

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Israel reportedly bombarded a Syrian regime stronghold south of Damascus on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

All reports thus far of strikes by the Israeli Air Force on the Syrian regime outpost can be traced to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The SOHR, a British-based non-governmental organization, reported that Israel bombarded a location south of the Syrian capital of Damascus, at Mount Mana, near roads leading to the city of Daraa. This area is controlled by the Assad regime.

That location was struck by three missiles, leading to physical damage. There were no reports about the extent of the physical damage or about human losses.

Given Israel’s heretofore reluctance to become involved in the Syrian civil war, it is likely that if the strike forces were Israeli, the bombardment took place either because Hezbollah operatives were believed to be present or because supplies intended for Hezbollah were located there.

Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group, has been assisting the Syrian regime throughout the ongoing civil war. Both Hezbollah and Syria are terrorist proxies controlled by Iran.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Ancient Central Synagogue of Aleppo In Danger of Destruction

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

As forces of the Assad regime draw closer to the heart of the city of Aleppo, the ancient ‘Central Synagogue of Aleppo’ is under the threat of destruction, due to the clashes with opposition forces in the city.

The synagogue, built in the 9th century CE, serves as one of the Jewish world’s oldest houses of prayer. This report features an exclusive photo of the synagogue, snapped from a hiding place by the Amaliah organization, which also reports about the synagogue’s status.

Ancient synagogue in Aleppo.

Due to its proximity to a large number of opposition snipers nests, the synagogue, which is already badly damaged, is currently under the threat of total destruction.

Efforts are being made in order to preserve its religious articles and ancient scriptures, which if destroyed might also destroy the last fragments of Jewish heritage in the city.

In light of that, the Amaliah organization, headed by Israeli-American businessman Moti Kahana is working with opposition forces in the city in order to salvage as much as possible from the synagogue.

Last week, backed by intense Russian air support and Hezbollah reinforcements, forces loyal to the Assad regime in Syria began their push towards the city of Aleppo, a known opposition stronghold in the region.

As the clashes between the forces intensify, people of Aleppo flee the city in search of a safe haven or prepare themselves for the imminent siege of the city. This has endangered not just the civilian life Aleppo, but its buildings and religious monuments as well. One such building is the ancient Central Synagogue of Aleppo.

“We are doing everything in our power in order to save as many books and scrolls as possible”, says Moti Kahana, who for the last five years has been engaged in humanitarian work in Syria. “This synagogue is an important heritage site for the Jewish people, holding many historical and holy religious articles, which if destroyed, will take with them any memory of Jewish life from this ancient city.

“We are working together with opposition forces in order to salvage the synagogues religious articles, an effort which has proven to be very costly and difficult. Hence, we call upon all Jewish people and those who share the Jewish belief, to join us in our efforts. Together, we can save the story of the Jewish life in Aleppo, which is part of the unique tapestry of the ancient Jewish life in the area.”

In 2012 the synagogue suffered major hits during the Syrian civil war, as the first battles over the city of Aleppo began. The ancient synagogue was massively hit during the clashes, leading to the belief that it was completely destroyed.

In 2014, there were reports that the synagogue was destroyed in the attack and it indeed suffered massive damage, leaving its fate in the hands of the Syrian rebels controlling the city.

In 2015, as the last Jewish family in the Aleppo was smuggled out of the city by Amaliah, the synagogue stood as a lone remnant to the Jewish life in the city, which dates back to 12th century CE.

Kahana was also involved in 2014 in preserving the ‘Jobar Synagogue’ in Damascus; he was the first Israeli-American businessman to work with various opposition groups throughout Damascus.

Hana Levi Julian

Assad Flies to Moscow to Thank Putin

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Dateline, Moscow, Syria – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flew from Damascus to Russia Tuesday night to thank president Vladimir Putin for saving his life and keeping in power, for the time being.

Assad has not left Syria since the Arab Spring swept through the country in 2011. He rode out the storm for a couple of months, backed by the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who called him a “reformer,” before his heavy hand of suppression boomeranged into civil war.

So far, the alternative to Assad is a worse barbarian.

President Barack Obama says there will be no peace in Syria so long as Assad is in power. Fortunately, what he says means less and less in the world, especially in the Middle East and particularly in Syria, where Putin has outfoxed and out-smarted President Obama to fill the vacuum of power.

Putin’s massive military support for Assad, ostensibly to attack the Islamic State (ISIS) but in reality to protect the Assad regime from revel groups, Al Qaeda and a host of other enemies, has erased the overdone predictions that Assad is about to disappear, one way or the other.

Everyone has been saying that for four years, including Israel’s then Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who public stated that he would be toppled within six months. That was three years ago.

News of Assad’s visit was kept secret until Wednesday morning, when the Kremlin released a transcript of the Putin-Assad meeting. The Syrian president may have returned to Syria already.

Moscow is just about the only place on earth he could have visited without fearing that he might never return to Syria, unless in a coffin, if he were lucky.

The world’s “most dangerous man,” as Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Joel Brinkley once described Assad, was given a royal welcome by Putin, for whom Assad is a pawn.

Assad said during the visit:

First of all I wanted to express my huge gratitude to the whole leadership of the Russian Federation for the help they are giving Syria.

If it was not for your actions and your decisions the terrorism which is spreading in the region would have swallowed up a much greater area and spread over an even greater territory.

Putin stated:

We are ready to make our contribution not only in the course of military actions in the fight against terrorism, but during the political process

The United States is the big loser in the Middle East chess game. It lost credibility long ago with the make-believe “peace process” that has left Kerry somewhere on another planet.

It remains to be seen whether Russia one day will be sorry for trying to be in charge of the Syrian-Iranian axis if the eternal Muslim hatred of outsiders trying to tell them what to do explodes in Moscow’s face.

For the time being, strange as it seems, Israel is a winner, despite the constant threat of Iran’s nuclear development that Russia has helped fund.

Assad is a butcher, dictator, a despot and corrupt, just like almost every other Middle East ruler. However, it was clear from the fall of Hosni Mubarak that the alternative of anarchy is even worse.

If Assad can remain in power, especially if Putin calls the shots, Israel can feel more secure that the Syrian his hatred of Israel and his threats to capture the Golan Heights will remain rhetoric.

Another bonus is that with Russia in charge, the United States will make less trouble.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/assad-flies-to-moscow-to-thank-putin/2015/10/21/

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